York Haunted Pub Crawl

Right so its been a while since I’ve blogged. Been meaning to do it for ages and I thought today’s post was quite suitable for attempting a come back. Last time I wrote a post it was about losing my cat Indy in the states. On top of all that I was also dealing with a bit of depression and what I found so odd but seemed to explain a lot, culture shock. While it’s not my first time living in the UK or experience things in the north. I was missing the normality I would get in St. Louis and not having a job and getting out of the house was also taking a toil. But now I have a job and a steady income I’m not only able to get out a hell of a lot more, I’m socializing a lot more. I still miss home obviously but I’m doing a lot more and spending so much time doing things and working that by the time I get home I am so worn out and sleeping within minutes of getting into bed. I might still be getting used to the work but I do like how quickly I’m going to sleep considering just a mere few months ago I was struggling to fall asleep at night.

Anyway last weekend my husband, me and our two friends David and Fiona went to York for an overnight trip. We did a haunted pub crawl that I’ve been wanting to do for nearly two years now. I got a booked called Haunted York and in the back with a list of haunted historic places there was a list of 10 pubs that were reported to be haunted with a map to help find our way. The only unfortunate thing was there was no stories as to their hauntings in the book. So I had to do a bit of research for all the different places. We didn’t get to go in all of them, there was only two we didn’t actually even get to see as they were the two farthest out of the main pubs. At least another 3 more that were too crowded to want to get a drink in as my husband and David joked, serving crap beer anyway being John Smiths pubs. Though I want to say one wasn’t and I really wanted to go in it but it was so crowded from a live band that was playing that I figured any spirits in that one wouldn’t be around.

So first we went to the Golden Fleece which had a doorman for such a tiny place. The fleece’s story I would write in my own words but I think its written quite well from a website I found.

Reputedly the most haunted pub in York, this early 16th century inn is certainly one of the oldest, having first been documented in 1503.

It is believed that no fewer than 15 spirits haunt this quaint unsuspecting pub. The most notable of these reports is the spirit of Lady Anne Peckett, the wife of the one time mayor of York, John Peckett. Many guests and staff have reported the sighting of a woman wandering the corridors of the inn, moving things around, and walking up and down the staircase in the dead of night.

Other ghosts include a man dressed in red coat uniform and holding a pistol. He’s known by people as One Eyed Jack, whether this is because he has been seen to wear a patch or is missing an eye is not known. He is also joined by a grumpy old man, both of whom are often sighted in the bottom bar area. A young boy is also seen in the top bar. It’s believed he is the ghost of a boy who was trampled to death by horses outside the inn sometime during the Victorian period.

After the Golden Fleece we got dinner, checked out Dean Court Hotel and decided we didn’t want to pay the prices but I will share the history I got from their website

As York is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the entire world, it’s no surprise that the Dean Court Hotel is haunted, primarily by a cleaner known as the ‘Mad Maid’. Mediums who have visited the hotel in the past came across the mad maid in the basement kitchen, where she told them that she used to work as a cleaner in the guesthouse that used to be next door to the hotel, that later became part of the hotel.

A number of other paranormal happenings have also been reported at the hotel, namely in room 36 on the third floor where most of the activity seems to be concentrated. Guests have reported doors slamming, feeling pressure on their chests late at night whilst they lie in bed, objects being moved around and out of their original positions and terribly cold spots in the rooms, even in the height of summer.

Not far from Dean Court Hotel was the York Arms which so happened to be a Sam Smith’s pub and is one our favourite breweries. Now the ghostly part of York Arms I could not find. The only thing I was able to find was that it was designed by J. P. Pritchett in 1838 and his work involved the demolition of the old Peter Prison and the mediaeval Minster Gate. We liked it there so much we stayed for two drinks. It was nice and quiet which was surprising for a Saturday night. After that we went to one of my favourite pubs Ye Olde Starre Inn in the shambles and that was our first bit of actual ghostly activity.

Ye Olde Starre Inne dates back to 1644, however historians believe the cellar is much older than this. It is from this cellar that most of the activity occurs, with screams and groans often heard. It was here were Royalist soldiers were treated during the inns’ time as a temporary hospital during the Civil War.

Another frequent experience is the sighting of an old lady wearing black clothes. There isn’t much known about the identity of the woman, or how she died, but she is often seen on the staircase.

Perhaps one of the strangest hauntings in this list, is the ghosts of two black cats that reportedly haunt this pub. Local legend says the cats were bricked up between the pillar between the door and the bar. On several occasions, customers have brought their dogs in with them, and whilst having their drinks the dogs have growled, snarled, and in some instances have bolted towards the pillar, with one dog knocking itself out doing so!

The tradition of burying cats in the walls is a tradition that goes back a long way throughout Yorkshire. It is believed this ritual protects the building against both fire and bad luck.

Now I took these pictures before I read the story and saw the first smudge and thought it was the cord of the camera in the picture so I took two more knowing I had a tight hand on the cord and there was still that moving orb. Mike and I believe it might have been the poor cats that were bricked in the pillar. Our friend David kept making fun of the idea so I think that might be why its trying to pick his nose :p It might also explain why I always feel so at home in that place because not being a fan of crowds but being a very big fan of cats, I am never in a rush to move on. I firmly believe that’s the cats visiting our table but then moved on when Mike took over the camera. I did take a few more shots too just to see if it was a flaw with the camera but there was nothing and rather than share an odd picture of my purse I didn’t add it on here. So yeah ghostly cat tails in that place with orbs in lots of other places. Next was The Punch Bowl (not the Wetherspoons one) which also had some orbs in it. They stayed with Fiona mostly.

Said to be haunted, The Punch Bowl has been a pub for over four centuries, or perhaps we should say pubs, as we have suffered two major fires. We have a historical connection with the Whig Party from the 17th Century. Punch was the preferred drink of the Whigs, whilst the Tories liked their claret. Any pub displaying a punch bowl sign was therefore declaring its political allegiance.

As with many of the old pubs in York, the Punch bowl is host to a couple of ghostly figures. In the past, the pub was renown as a brothel. One story is that one women rejected the advances of a client, who then chased her around the pub to one of the rooms where he strangled her to death.

Her ghostly steps and voice have often been heard by the staff and customers. The second being that of a previous landlord who died during a fire in the pub.

After The Punch Bowl we tried to go to the Roman Bath which has a museum downstairs with the Roman bath that was found and is on display. Obviously by this point we couldn’t see the it and it was really crowded so we decided to move on and try it another time. Next was The Old White Swan, we sat at a round table by one of the fireplaces, it was busy but the place was large enough for the crowd. I ended up spilling my cider into my purse which had all my electronics so I had to quickly clean it out. I wasn’t the only one to spill my drink there either so I think it was safe to say we were pretty sloshed. Anyhow the story is here, comes from their website.

Part of a collection of buildings dating back to the 16th century, the Old White Swan is also one of the oldest in the city, and with that comes the history and the stories of hauntings. It is believed that the pub is haunted by a group of papists who have been seen gathering round the fire in the early hours of the morning. The fire itself is often re-ignited by itself after staff have extinguished it shortly before.

Another piece of strange phenomena that occurs at this pub are the reports of furniture being moved and in come cases thrown and toppled over by unseen hands. Muffled voices are also often heard, and the sound of footsteps are a regular occurrence.

The Old White Swan is a collection of buildings with a rather colourful history that dates from the 16th Century. We are one of York’s oldest pubs and are said to be haunted. Buildings at the rear of our courtyard date to medieval times and in 1781, the world’s tallest man, Mr O’Brian, was exhibited here at the pub. O’Brian stood 8 feet tall and the then landlord charged onlookers a shilling.

While I don’t know if the fire we sat by is the one they talk about, there is an orb in one of the photos. So again we didn’t plan to sit by one of the haunted areas before we read the story yet still managed to. Oddly coincidental.

After the white swan we made our way to The Snickleway Inn which sadly was the one with the live band and crammed with people. So we stood outside while I read the story and it took a lot of effort not to just go right in after reading what can happen there.

Situated in the historic centre of York, the Snickleway Inn is one of the oldest pubs in the city with parts of the building dating back to the 15th century. The building was not always linked to the pub trade; evidence suggests it may have once been used as a brothel as well as being the Royalist powder magazine during the English Civil War.

In addition to being one of York’s oldest pubs, the Snickleway Inn is also reputedly one of the most haunted. Derek Acorah names the pub as being amongst Britain’s 100 scariest places to visit, thought to be haunted by at least 5 spirits.

The ghosts include Mrs. Tulliver and her cat, Seamus. Some customers claim to have felt the cat rubbing against their legs. The ghost of a young girl has been seen sitting on the pub stairs. She is the daughter of a past landlord who ran outside into the road one day and was killed by a brewer’s dray. An elderly gent is said to sit on the barrels in the cellar and has been known to throw tools at certain members of staff when they go down there.

Now the part I can’t remember is if we got some food on the way back or before we made our way there but we decided to go to some places that weren’t on the list as the last two were too far out from where we were and our hotel. One place wouldn’t let us in because I forgot my passport in the hotel which was understandable but hey not every place has a doorman so we went to The Red Lion which everyone but me wanted to go to first as they were saying its a pub crawl but it wasn’t on my list and I wanted a haunted pub as we all agreed to do. So I may have pitched a mini fit at the beginning to make sure we stuck with the plan. But now that there was plenty of booze in me and we were pretty much done with our list we went there and it was quite a nice place. Could definitely tell it had some history to it. I’ve yet to see what there is about the place but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something. After that we finished our night with the Wetherspoons that was connected to the hotel. And of course before heading to bed we raided the vending machine just in the lobby. It sadly was not as pleasant a night of sleep as I would have hoped because we had the window open in our room which you could hear traffic and people out later than us. Then very early that morning a family next door woke up us. Or really the 3 kids and dad trying desperately to get the ready for the day. One crying and two were bouncing around, how do I know this? Because the walls were so fucking thin!!! Or they were just ridiculously loud. Which is highly possible as Fiona and David heard them and they were a few doors down and not connected by the wall that we were. What was funny was when the father left the room with one of the kids and the kid started to say something the father immediately hushed the kid. And it was like yeah bit late for that! So we ended our time in York by having a nice breakfast at Bills and our server telling us about more haunted pubs when she asked about our visit to York. And I had just enough time to quickly nip into The Cat Gallery to grab Grey some of his catnip mice. It was a great trip and I know we’ll be visiting the other two places as well as the new ones we were told about. Oh and I’ll share the stories for the two we didn’t get to go to. Which were The Black Swan and The Cock and Bottle. And there I shall leave you with the last of the stories and pictures.

Cock and Bottle

Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie

Kissed the girls and made them cry

When the boys came out to play

Georgie Porgie ran away

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628) was the bisexual lover of King James I. By no means monogamous, Villiers also had affairs with ladies at Court as well as with the wives and daughters of powerful nobles. It is believed he used his relationship with the King to force his attention on unwilling ladies:

“Kissed the girls and made them cry”

Whilst avoiding prosecution or retaliation. Parliament finally ordered James I to stop intervening on his lover’s behalf causing all the jealous husbands to vow to get their revenge, so…

“Georgie Porgie ran away”

Said to be the home to the ghost of George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, who was rumoured to have been made famous by the Georgie Porgie nursery rhyme.

The Black Swan

This solid oak 17th century inn was originally built in 1417 and was used as a family residence. However, the pub as you see it today wasn’t built until sometime during the 17th century.

The Black Swan is certainly one of the oldest buildings in our list, and it also has some interesting reports of paranormal goings on. One of which is the sighting of a Chaplinesque looking figure that wears a bowler hat, pacing around the rooms of the pub as if he’s waiting for someone to arrive. After a while he normally disappears!

The ghost of a beautiful young woman with long black hair and wearing a white dress is also seen. She is often seen looking towards the fireplace as if in deep thought.

Perhaps the strangest of all the haunting at the Black Swan, is the male legs that have often been seen walking around the landlord’s living quarters.

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Out and About The UK

So I’m settling into school more. I’m researching for papers I am working on or work I’m doing. Still have a bit to do that I haven’t started on yet. But I’m not really wanting to talk that much about school. More about Leeds and the surrounding areas I’ve visited lately.

Leeds has quite a bit to do though I don’t tend to go out much unless I’m with Mike. But the shopping is quite nice. And a few food places as well. This past weekend we went out Friday evening for dinner and spend Sunday during the day going shopping. There is a movie theater in one building that also has quite a few restaurants and some shops. Nandos is quite good, it’s mostly chicken with a bit of spice to it though Mike and I found a takeaway we like that has the same food but cheaper. We also tried an Italian chain that was quite good. Felt like I was being served and didn’t really have to ask for much. The best part was getting my dessert from one manager and then another bring my coffee out to me. It was nice.

Sunday we went walking around the city center looking at different shops and getting something here or there or just having a look. Look around in quite a few shops for nice walking shoes but didn’t find anything that shouted at me. Got my new PS3 for a nice deal and Mike got himself a game he wanted. Also found two Jane Austen books for only a few pounds. It was a probably the best deal I found on books. Besides shopping/window shopping we saw quite a few street performers and vendors out on the street. I rather enjoyed watching one guy sing and play guitar and be very into the music. What I’d call a true entertainer, so I gave him a some change and watched some others. One of the vendors selling food had some interesting options for burgers and sandwiches. One was venison which twice since I have been here I have tried to order only to be told they weren’t serving it or were out and both times ended up getting lamb instead. The lamb was quite good but it has been years since I had venison and I want to try some again. Of course I didn’t get any cause it was too late in the day to have it as a snack and not ruin my plans for dinner. But that’s was basically it for my time in Leeds

Saturday was probably the best day in my opinion. We went to York 🙂 I got to say that York is probably my favorite town to visit. It’s fun, there is plenty to do, great food and really not a bad place to live/work. The only intention we have in York was to watch the light show they were gonna have at the Castle Museum. But it wasn’t til that evening and we had time to spare. I looking around at different shops. Went to supposedly one of the most haunted houses in York though nothing really happened. But I may have gotten some kind of spiritly evidence on my camera. We also went to about two different pubs that were real pubs, not the kind that served the larger more modern public. The first one went in was so small they asked that large parties not come in especially stag/hen parties. They only had one cider I liked and you really couldn’t see what they had to offer from the side we choose to sit at. It was like stepping into the 30s-50s again (depending on you want to look at it). All dark wood panelling, a nice fire, cushions on the seats and little stools with round tables. They did minimal bar food and had lace curtains. It was nice and I liked that it wasn’t crowded. The second one we went to was apart of the York Brewery and didn’t have any kind of cider I liked, just dry cider. They were both more like Ale pubs but it was still enjoyable. The second one seemed a bit bigger and had an upstairs to sit at. They were decorated for Halloween and then had all these stickers on the bar of the different drinks they served at one time from York Brewery. The actual bar didn’t seem to have much but maybe that was just in looks. Seemed livelier than the other pub but was still enjoyable. Now York is voted 5th best city to dine in Europe. And Mike and I have to agree. The place we went to was like a Latin restaurant that had good tapas though we choose to go with something different (I had to change my order at the last minute cause once again no venison steak!) but it was quite good. Though I have to say the waiter could have been better. He didn’t check on us very often and kind of made Mike feel insulted when he made a joke about venison. But he didn’t ruin the taste of the food. I’m not much for sweet potatoes but the mash that went with the lamb shanks were amazing. And I know you’re not supposed to eat the fat off of meat (or at least not all of it) but the fat on the lamb shanks were so flavorful and delicious I couldn’t help myself. It was just as sweet as the potatoes and complimented the meat nicely. I’m loving lamb more and more and now just find other meat like pork bland and too dry. Though my mind might change on that later if I have some amazing roast or steak with all kinds of flavor. But flavor definitely makes the meat. Thinking about it now just makes me want some more. I’m hoping to discover other great foods through the areas I visit and maybe cook from home (or Mike’s) too. Anyway I shall leave you with a few photos and a link to the light show from York.

Are those ghostly orbs?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWPCr9uutQ4